Format email messages in Outlook 2016 for Mac

Updated: December 2017

The text formatting tools in Outlook 2016 for Mac enable you to let your personality shine through with the creative use of fonts, bullets, colors, and other options. Messages can be formal-looking for serious subjects or more playful when the situation calls for it. And if you're familiar with other Office 2016 for Mac apps, such as Word 2016 for Mac or PowerPoint 2016 for Mac, you'll recognize these buttons on the ribbon when you compose a new mail or respond to an existing one.

Formatting options on the ribbon in Outlook for Mac

This article explains how to do some of the more popular formatting tasks, such as changing the font, embedding a link, and pasting text and images into your email message.

Change the font

The default font when you first sign in to Outlook is Calibri (Body) 11. But dozens of different fonts are available to choose from.

  1. Highlight the text where you want to change the font.

  2. Select the font and font size from the drop-down lists.

    Font and font size pickers in Outlook for Mac

  3. Add some color by selecting the Font Color button and choosing a color.

    Font color picker in Outlook for Mac

Embed a link

Including a hyperlink in your email message is easy. The hyperlinked text is underlined and displayed in a blue font. Because it's text, however, you can edit the font, size, and color of the hyperlink. You can also highlight it, or make it bold or italicized.

  1. Highlight the word that you want to turn into a link.

  2. Select Add a Hyperlink.

    Hyperlink button on Outlook for Mac ribbon

  3. Enter the URL that you want to use and then select OK. The word you selected earlier becomes a hyperlink that the recipient selects to go directly to the web page.

    Hyperlink dialog in Outlook for Mac

  4. To edit the URL, select the hyperlinked word(s) again and click Add a Hyperlink.

  5. To edit the format of the hyperlink, select the hyperlinked word(s) and click any of these buttons to apply formatting.

    Formatting buttons in Outlook for Mac

Paste text and images into your message

Sometimes, you want to share an excerpt from another mail, document, or web page, but that doesn’t always work quite the way you want. Maybe you get more content than you intended, maybe you get less, maybe the formatting changes during the paste process. Outlook has paste tools to help.

  1. Select and copy the content you want to add to your message.

    Screenshot showing part of a web page selected to copy.

  2. Go to your email message, and select Edit > Paste.

  3. At the bottom of the pasted text you'll see a paste control icon. Click it to reveal your paste options.

    Paste options when pasting text into Outlook for Mac

    • Keep Source Formatting keeps all of the original formatting and images.

    • Match Destination Formatting changes the font to match what you're using in your message. Images are unchanged.

      Tip: If the font size increases when you paste text into your message, use this paste option to solve the problem.

    • Keep Text Only removes all of the formatting and images and leave only the text.

  4. Select the desired choice.

Add a list

Need to add a list to your email? Outlook 2016 for Mac includes both bulleted and numbered lists, and nested lists for more complicated scenarios. A variety of bullet and number formats are available, or you can create your own.

The list buttons on the ribbon are where you select your bullet or number format. You can also promote or demote sections of the list with the indent buttons to create your nested list.

List buttons on Outlook for Mac ribbon

  1. Place your cursor where you want a bulleted list.

  2. On the Message tab, click the arrow next to Bullets or Numbering.

  3. Choose a bullet or number style and start typing. Here's an example of the bullet styles available.

    Highlight the text you want to turn into a list and click the bullets or numbering button

  4. Press Enter every time you want a new bullet, or press Enter twice to end the bulleted list.

Tip:  When you start a paragraph with an asterisk and a space (* ) or with number 1 and a period (1.), Outlook displays the AutoCorrect Options button and begins building a bulleted or numbered list. If you don't want a bulleted or numbered list, click the AutoCorrect Options button and then click Stop Automatically Creating Bulleted Lists or Stop Automatically Creating Numbered Lists.

AutoCorrect button with auto numbering options shown

Insert a table

If you're an Office Insider, you can now use the Table feature to insert tables into your messages in Outlook 2016 for Mac (build 16.9.1212 and later). To do so, start a new message and then select Table. Choose the number of rows and columns, and then click Insert Table.

Email messae with table picker shown

If you aren't an Office Insider, create a table in another Office app, such as Word or Excel, and paste it into your message. You can resize it by dragging the corners or column and row borders.

See Also

Insert pictures in Office for Mac

Resize a picture in an email message

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